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RUGBY WRAP: URC quarter-finals set, Blitzboks disappoint and the latest Premiership action

Shaun Goosen looks back the weekend’s rugby action which saw the URC quarter-finals set, the Blitzboks blown away in France and the latest from the Gallgher Premiership.

Siya Kolisi of the Sharks - URC
Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

Shaun Goosen looks back the weekend's rugby action which saw the URC quarter-finals set, the Blitzboks blown away in France and the latest from the Gallgher Premiership.

Rugby Wrap - URC, Sevens, Prem

SA sides learn URC last-eight fate

Friday URC action saw the Sharks take on Ulster in Belfast while the Bulls visited Swansea to face Ospreys. The Durbanites produced a pretty underwhelming performance but were lifted late on by substitute Grant Williams, who set up one try and scored another to see his side come within a whisker but ultimately go down 21-24. The Bulls meanwhile fended off Ospreys 38-31 courtesy of a Cornal Hendricks hat-trick that saw them finish the regular season in fourth. They will host the fifth-placed Sharks at Loftus next week in their quarterfinal.

Elsewhere the high-flying Stormers finished second overall following their 26-21 defeat of Scarlets in Llanelli on Saturday, and will welcome Edinburgh to Cape Town Stadium. The Scottish outfit ended up seventh after a 28-11 home win over Glasgow that saw them win back the 1972 Cup. The remaining quarterfinals will see first-placed Leinster host the Warriors (eighth), while Ulster (third) face Munster (sixth) at the Kingspan.

The other results of the weekend saw Leinster beat Munster 35-25 at the Aviva, Benetton thump Cardiff 69-21 at the Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi and Connacht edge Zebre 22-20 in Galway. The Lions ended their campaign in 12th after a 21-11 defeat of Dragons at Rodney Parade.

Blitzboks again found wanting in Toulouse

After losing to Ireland and Samoa in the pool stages of the Toulouse Sevens on the weekend, the Blitzboks fell 24-21 to Scotland in the 9th–place semi-final in another tournament to forget for Neil Powell’s side. In what the SA coach described as the worst performance of his career, the pressure is on big time with the London Sevens resuming this week.

After starting the HSBC Sevens Series with such confidence in winning the opening four tournaments, they have since hit a massive slump and have now seen Argentina overtake them at the summit of the overall standings. With just two legs of the season left, the Blitzboks have to make a big turnaround if they are to claim a fifth world title.

Wins for top three in penultimate weekend of Gallagher Premiership

Leaders Leicester, second-placed Saracens and third-best Harlequins all won in a weekend that went largely as predicted in the Gallagher Premiership. The Tigers, who lead Sarries by three points, saw off the challenge of Newcastle 27-5 at Kingston Park while Mark McCall’s men dispatched of fourth-placed Saints 42-36 at the StoneX. Defending champs Quins held off Gloucester 28-24 at The Stoop seal a third-place finish this season.

In other results, the Bears ended Exeter playoff hopes with a 40-33 win at Ashton Gate, Sale won 16-7 at Wasps and hosts Bath edged London Irish 27-24.

Rugby Stunners

Stormers claim SA Shield

The Stormers’ 26-21 win over Scarlets at the Parc y Scarlets on Saturday not only sealed them a second-place finish on the overall URC log standings, but also the inaugural SA Shield.

Hendricks hattrick hero for Bulls

Midfielder Cornal Hendricks scored a hattrick to help guide his Bulls side to a 38-31 win over Ospreys and a home URC quarterfinal.

Super-sub Williams turns on the gas

While it didn’t look like the Sharks would get anywhere near Ulster as their match on Friday wound down, substitute scrumhalf Grant Williams made a massive impact in setting up a try and then scoring one himself to add some respectability to the scoreline. 24-21 it ended.

Ramos butchers it

Toulouse fullback Thomas Ramos looked set to finish off a contender for try of the weekend during his side’s 26-8 win over Brive on Saturday. Unfortunately, we got a bit too casual.

Crazy scenes in England v Argentina clash

After breaking away against Argentina in his side’s Pool A clash at the Toulouse Sevens on the weekend, England’s Will Homer ran the clock down by over two-minutes for refusing to dot the ball down for a try. The South Americans were leading 19-0 and were down to six men at the time, knowing a win would see them progress. With the English only needing to lose by less than 16-points, it was a seemingly mutually beneficial arrangement!

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